We made it to 3 months!

Hooray! I’ve been a mom for 3 months AND I SURVIVED! Barely. Kidding!

It goes without saying that the first 3 months of parenthood are like baby bootcamp. You go from being anxious about your new arrival to suddenly being responsible for a precious, dependent, and helpless little human. And oh yeah, you also happen to care about and love this little human more than you’ve EVER cared about or loved anything in your entire life. No pressure or anything.

So, when you’re preparing for baby, you read all the books, all the blogs, all the articles. You get heaps of advice at your baby shower and from your mother and mother-in-law. The room is ready, you have diapers, and a ton of cute outfits. READY! Right?! Almost. I still have a long way to go and lots more to learn about being a mom but here are some things I’ve learned in the first 3 months of parenthood that no one prepared me for (this is not a comprehensive list, obviously).

  1. “Mom-Shaming” is real. So I usually HATE cliche phrases like “mansplaining” or “mom-shaming.” However, I must say, mom-shaming is REAL and in full force as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital (and potentially even starts while you are IN the hospital). Everyone has an opinion on what is best for baby and in case you didn’t already notice while you were pregnant, they love to share. But it’s different once your little one is born and in your arms. Why? Because you’re the one rocking to sleep, feeding at 3 AM, giving baths, giving comfort and love. You’re the one there during the quite of the night snuggling your little baby who is still trying so hard to adjust to life outside of the womb and just can’t seem to cope. In other words, you know your baby best (you really do). And yet, the neighbor who immediately hands your baby back to you once he lets out half of a whimper wants to coach you on sleep training? Um, ok. Don’t get me wrong…most unsolicited advice comes from a good place. And a lot of it is very helpful and useful. But do not let anyone make you feel guilty for doing what is best of your baby. Not very long ago during a family lunch date, I took my son to a private place to nurse him and ran into another mom (who I do not know) who lectured me because I wouldn’t breastfeed him in the middle of the cafe. Look, I understand where she is coming from. I support public breastfeeding. One day, I may do it. But for now, I don’t. And that’s fine! And my son is getting love, comfort, and nutrition from me, so I think we’re ok. (More on breastfeeding and mom-shaming in a later post). People LOVE labels. They love to label themselves as “the type of” parents who adhere to certain childrearing philosophies and lecture everyone under the sun about it (check out the “lactivism” hashtag on Instagram if you don’t believe me) because it says more about THEM and what kind of people they want to portray themselves as than it does about their concern for your children. Don’t let people like that make you feel bad for taking care of your kids and yourself.
  2. Speaking of breastfeeding….it’s really hard! Well, for some of us. For some people, it’s really easy and that’s great. When I initially got pregnant, I imagined myself sitting in a rocking chair, nursing my little one while singing a soothing lullaby, hair cascading down my shoulders, and a cheerful beam of sunlight pouring into the room. NOPE. No one prepared me for those first weeks and how hard they could be. Everyone expects breastfeeding to come naturally to them and their baby, but it just doesn’t for everyone. And that is ok. Your baby might have a hard time latching. You might find that breastfeeding hurts. You might have a difficult time producing milk at first. You may not be able to do it (for various reasons). You may just not enjoy it and feel like something is wrong with you. Well know what? There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s normal. It’s hard for some of us. And some women can’t do it. And some women choose not to. And that is ok. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about this.  (More on this later).
  3. Your life changes…and you completely change, too. This was big for me. Being a parent is hard. You will mourn your life before baby at times. And everyone tells you your life totally changes so I won’t go there. What I will say is that you will change too. Some things you used to care about will no longer be important to you. Your goals and priorities will suddenly change when you hold that little bundle in your arms and see those tiny eyes blink as they adjust to the bright lights in the hospital. You look at the world completely differently; problems and issues in the world aren’t just concerning on an ethical level- your baby has to live here now. Your sweet little baby will have to grow up on this planet. So what used to make you sad now breaks your heart and gives you more urgency to fix it than ever. It’s the most amazing transformation you’ll ever undergo.

xo,

Jessica

Winter Whites

Winter is quickly coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean I can’t embrace the winter white trend before it’s over. I love the look of crisp whites, bundled up in heavy coats and gorgeous scarves. These looks below are so gorgeous that they compel me to break every etiquette rule in the book.

winterwhiteviapinterestLive in a warmer climate? California babes can still rock white shorts, even in “winter.” Photo via Pinterest  winterwhiteviasincerelyjules

Sincerely Jules is my all time favorite style blogger. Her casual, cool approach to wearing white is proof that she knows can do no fashion wrong. Photo via sincerelyjules.comwinterwhiteviastylecaster

How gorgeous are these palazzo pants? Swoon. Photo via stylecaster.comwinterwhiteviastylecaster

When in doubt, wear white sneakers. Photo via stylecaster.comwinterwhiteciastylecarrot

Totally loving the skirt and sweater combo look for a date night during the colder months. Photo via stylecarrot.com

xx,

j

Raising My Hand.

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One of my favorite blogs is A Cup Of Jo. I love her casual way of chatting about movies, books, nail polish, and how she is so open with her readers. She doesn’t seem like a mystery, but rather, a friendly gal you want to be best friends with.

Today, she published a blog post about losing her brother-in-law in a tragic accident in December. She said she didn’t want to share it on the blog right away out of respect for her family’s privacy, so she published content as usual. The cheery tone of her blog remained throughout December and it seemed that none of her readers really knew anything about her grief and pain.

It’s important to remember that all of the cute baking experiments, shots of beautiful beaches on Instagram, and perfectly curated outfits on fashion blogs are only slim glimpses into real life. I believe that Joanna’s pointed reminder is one we should all absorb and think about it. I don’t feel we need to share every detail or aspect of our lives, and I understand why we only want to share pretty, exciting parts. As long as we have a mutual understanding that nothing is perfect, not everything is adorable, and “there is no such thing as a simple life,” then I think we can acknowledge that sharing the beautiful parts of our lives does not mean that we are ignoring the hard, painful, and more complicated bits.

Joanna asked us to “raise our hands” if we want to acknowledge our worries or struggles. So, raising my hand.

xx,

j

(Photo taken by B)

Best Blondies Ever

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I don’t know how to properly describe Blondies. They’re like brownies but made out of cookies. They’re soft and cookie like…but not fudge-y and aren’t made of cocoa. In other words, they are utterly delicious. These would make an excellent Valentine’s Day treat…just sayin’.

I stumbled across this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated and haven’t looked back since. These blondies are soft, dense, and full of white and milk chocolate chips. They’re everything a blondie should be, but are somehow…better. What’s the secret? The heavy dose of vanilla (trust me!). So don’t skimp and use a good quality vanilla. It’ll be the difference between a good dessert and a memorable one.

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Best Blondies Ever (adapted from this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated)

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter ( 1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar 
  • large eggs, lightly beaten
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with foil, leaving enough overhang to help you lift the blondies from the pan when they’re done. Grease foil-lined pan with butter or oil.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.

3. Whisk melted butter and brown sugar together in medium bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in chocolate and nuts and turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.

4. Bake until top is shiny, cracked, and light golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes; do not overbake. Cool on wire rack to room temperature. Remove bars from pan by lifting foil overhang and transfer to cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares, serve, and let the rave reviews roll in.

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Spinach and Potato Frittata

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“Meatless Monday” posts have been making rounds in the blogosphere for quite sometime now. While I love the concept, I admit we eat meatless meals much more often than once a week. In fact, our menus feature meat approximately once a week (usually Friday night). We aren’t vegetarians but both feel physically better when adhering to a mostly plant based (and often times dairy free as well) diet.

This frittata is a delicious vegetarian brunch or weeknight dinner dish. A layer of thinly sliced potatoes gives this frittata wonderful texture while the goat cheese gives it creaminess and a slightly tart flavor. Caramelized onions and spinach fill up this dish to make it hearty without making it heavy and it slices beautifully making it a wonderful meal for guests.  Serve with a side of fresh fruit for brunch or a lightly dressed mixed green salad for dinner.

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Spinach & Potato Frittata

5 eggs

1/4 cup milk (I used almond, but soy or dairy milk would work fine)

1/2 sweet white onion, thinly sliced

2 heaping handfuls baby spinach, washed and dried

2 tablespoons chèvre

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly shredded parmesan

1 small thinly sliced russet potato (peeled)

Good quality olive oil for sautéing

Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

1. Place thinly sliced potatoes in a pan, preheated with oil, in a single layer. Cook until sides are golden brown and middle is soft (approx 3 minutes) turning once. Careful not to overcook, or you’ll have potato chips! Drain on paper towel lined plate. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Add more oil to pan if needed. Add thinly sliced onion and sauté until they begin to caramelize. Remove from pan, set aside.

3. Add fresh spinach to pan and sauté until cooked through. Remove from pan, set aside.

4. Lightly beat eggs with milk until fluffy. Season with salt and pepper (you want the eggs seasoned so the dish preserves flavor when the eggs are combined with the over ingredients).

5. Butter a 9 inch pie dish. Place the potatoes on the bottom of the dish in a single layer, keep laying until you are out of potatoes.

6. Add onions in a single layer on top of the potatoes.

7. Add layer of spinach.

8. Crumble the goat cheese and the 1 tablespoon of parmesan on top of spinach.

9. Pour egg mixture over potatoes, onions, and spinach. Place in preheated onion for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle last half tablespoon of parmesean over frittata after 25-30 minutes and bake additional 5 minutes or until cooked in the middle.

10. Let cool for 10 mins before serving. Enjoy!

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(Recipe and images by me)

The Details

When I first went to college, I asked for a pair of ripped jeans for my birthday. The exact pair I had in mind were loose-fit, flared, and a light wash from Hollister. My dad agreed to purchase the jeans for me but balked at the rips and the price. “I’ve never paid this much for jeans in my life. And these are ripped up all over the place!” I’ll never forget those jeans. They looked great on my tan, slender (college age) legs and I felt so cool wearing them.

My tastes have changed quite a bit since then, but I still have a small place in my heart for a good pair of ripped denim. I’ve noticed ripped skinny jeans all over the blogging world and I think it’s time for me to take the plunge (much to B’s dismay-he’s not a fan of ripped jeans or denim with holes.) Today’s ripped jeans are more form fitting and have either the smallest slits or carefully placed rips, making them look more polished and deliberate than my old Hollister jeans. Paired with a striped tee, leather moto jacket, and d’orsay heels and you’ve got yourself quite the alluring get up, right there.

ripped jeans1 ripped jeans2 ripped jeans3 ripped jeans4 ripped jeans5 ripped jeans6(All images via Pinterest)

Your Guide to Being Sneaky

I’ve spent most of my life in sneakers. As a child, I vividly remember arguing with my mom over her decision to throw away a red pair of canvas slip ons (with dinosaur print) and by the time I had become a teenager, you could find me in either adidas Superstars (white with stripes in a variety of colors) or Converse All-Stars (in a variety of colors). Once I graduated from college, I swore off flat shoes and lived in high heels.

A little heel always does a shorty like me (5’2″!) a bit of good, but I can’t deny the undying cool factor of the classic sneaker. And the fashion world seems to agree. These looks have me revisiting my love for the sneaker. For my next purchase? Probably New Balance 420s.

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Red nails, leather pants, All Stars? Yep!

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xoxo,

j

(all images via Pinterest)